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YOU ARE ENOUGH EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.
From the time we’re born, a litany of do’s and don’ts are placed on us by our families, our communities, and society. We’re required to fit into boxes based on our race, gender, sexuality, and other parts of our identities, being told by others how we should behave, who we should date, or what we should be interested in. For so many of us, those boxes begin to feel like shackles when we realize they don’t fit our unique shape, yet we keep trying because we crave acceptance and validation. But is “fitting in” worth the time, energy, and suffering? Actor, writer, and activist Brandon Kyle Goodman says, Hell no it ain’t!
As a Black nonbinary, queer person in a dark-skinned 6’1”, 180-pound male body born into a religious immigrant household, Brandon knows the pain of having to hide one’s true self, the work of learning to love that true self, and the freedom of finally being your true self.
In You Gotta Be You, Brandon affectionately challenges you to consider, “Who would I be if society never got its hands on me?” This question set Brandon on a mission to dropkick societal shackles by unlearning all the things he was told he should be in order to step into who he really is. It required him to reexamine messy but ultimately defining moments in his life—his first time being followed in a store, navigating his mother’s born-again Christianity, and regretfully using soap as lube (yes, you read that right!)—to find the lessons that would guide him to his most authentic self.
Compassionate and soulful, funny and revealing, You Gotta Be You is an unapologetic call to self-freedom. It’s about turning rejection (from others and yourself) into a roadmap to self-love. It’s a guide to setting boundaries and fostering self-growth. And most importantly, it’s an affirmation that we are enough exactly as we are.
1. Being Messy Is Not Just for Mondays
So, I just told you that this book won’t be written in a linear way, which then raises the questions: Where do we start? How do we commence this journey together? I think we should begin with my favorite topic… sex. Oop! Somebody’s bootyhole just tensed up. Breathe, baby. Ain’t nobody gotta know that we’re gonna chat about s-e-x. Furthermore, I’m just gonna talk about my experiences, though by the end, I may have you pondering your own sex life and relationship to it. But that’s okay. Curiosity is fabulous.
Before we dive in, let me give you a little context. It’s going to get somber for a second, so bear with me. In the summer of 2020, after watching the brutal murder of George Floyd, I made a video on Instagram called “To My White Friends.” For almost ten minutes, I sat at my desk talking into a camera, telling my white friends what I needed them to know about how George’s death and all the murders of unarmed Black people weigh on me and my community. At this time, my social media following on Instagram was at around 3,000 followers. I went to bed that night and woke up to almost 30,000 followers, with my video quickly climbing to a million views.
Coincidentally, I was about to begin promoting a family film on Netflix called Feel the Beat, starring my friend Sofia Carson. In it, I played her best friend, a flamboyant costume designer named Deco. I was to begin doing press for the movie, highlighting the importance of a Black Queer character in a film made for kids, but due to that first video going viral (and a few subsequent videos along with it), the virtual press “tour” quickly pivoted from being about the movie to being about my thoughts on racial justice. I was doing interviews and panels, making more videos, participating in Instagram live feeds, writing op-eds, and helping the Biden campaign, not to mention hosting two podcasts and getting a deal to write this book. All of this was going down while I was still writing and providing voice-overs for the Netflix adult animated series Big Mouth and its spin-off, Human Resources.
When winter finally arrived, I was beyond exhausted. Yes, physically, but more so emotionally. I had spent nearly seven months unpacking my Black Queer pain while also managing the sudden visibility and platforms where people could access me in a way I’d never experienced.
I felt trapped, like suddenly I had to be this serious person who only spoke about injustice and pain. But the reality is I love a good dick joke. I love to laugh. Correction: I love to cackle. I love delicious food, great friends, and Real Housewives. I wanted that to be okay, too. I wanted to be able to be a full person in my public life, and I came to realize that joy is part of my activism. It has to be. It’s the only way that fighting for my life and the lives of my communities is sustainable.
So, on the Monday before Christmas 2020, I hopped on my Instagram stories and asked my followers to “tell me something good or messy.” Answers began to flood in, some of them so inspiring and heartwarming, and some of them raunchy as hell. All of them joyful! I began sharing responses and recording my reactions, most of which were just me laughing. That laughter resonated with people, so I did it again the following Monday. And again, the following Monday. And the Monday after that. And thus “Messy Mondays” was born. As time went on, it morphed into a safe and inclusive space to talk about sex, relationships, kink, and even mental health. From douching to pegging to kissing to sexting, nothing is off the table. Oh, honey, we be talking about it all!
Followers dubbed me the Curator of Mess, as though we were in some kind of messy art gallery. I call them Messy Patrons. (If you’re a Messy Patron reading this, hi, boo!) As time went on, Patrons began calling me Messy Mom, and honestly, teaching Patrons motherly things like how to better suck a big dick or dodge a fuckboy is the highest honor.
But moms can learn too. Creating this safe space to honor people’s questions and promote pleasure and exploration inherently opened up a new level of exploration for myself and inspired introspection on my own relationship to sex.
I’m sure because of how open I am online, most people would think I have the healthiest relationship to sex, but it’s quite the opposite. I think Messy Mondays unintentionally became a way for me to heal my own sexual pain, shame, and trauma, which is tied up in my sexuality, my body, my gender identity, and my race.
I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this, but I’ve never had penetrative sex with a woman. In middle school, high school, and freshman year of college, there were girls I dated, made out with, and had oral sex with, but my dick was never in a vagina. I didn’t admit my love of dick and men until I was twenty-one, and even after coming out, there was still a stack of shame that I had no idea how to identify, let alone pull apart. I hadn’t taken time to understand how growing up in a religious household with heterosexual Caribbean-born women who deemed homosexuality a sin contributed to my understanding of sex. I hadn’t considered that I grew up in a country where representations of gay men were few and far between, where we were usually caricatures, the butt of jokes, or dying of AIDS. In what world would there not be shame and fear deeply laced in my sexual experiences?
I also think about how many Queer folx don’t explore their sexuality with one another in high school and college like our straight counterparts do, because we’re closeted. By the time we do—many of us being in our twenties, some even in our thirties or later—our romantic and sexual experiences are laced with an “immaturity” that doesn’t match our age.
I’m going to break that sentence down a little more, because it’s a big generalization with triggering words. Usually there’s a negative connotation associated with “immature,” especially with men. Like your underwear clearly has skid marks and you think everything’s a joke. That’s not what I mean when I say “immature” in this instance. I truly just mean this piece of our existence often isn’t allowed to be explored, and by the time we begin exploring, that part of us isn’t as developed in comparison to some of our straight friends.
I’ll give you two examples. The first time I had sex with a guy, I was eighteen and a freshman at NYU. The guy was a musical theater major and I was just a regular theater major. We lived in the same dorm, and because of what we were studying, we ran in similar circles. At the time, I wasn’t out of the closet, but he very much was. I have to admit his unapologetic gayness was so sexy to me. One Friday night, I ended up having drinks with him and a few others, not too far from our dorm. We went to a place called Asian Pub, which wasn’t run by anyone Asian but also didn’t card. You could eat as much edamame as you wanted while sipping Big Gulp–size mojitos and margaritas.
Culturally, the establishment was confused, but I always left extremely drunk. The night with the musical theater major was no exception. We both stumbled back to the dorm, and he asked if I wanted to come up to his room.
“Yes!” I blurted out.
We made our way to his room, and on his wall was a poster for the musical Anything Goes. Turns out we both played the male lead character, Billy, in our respective high school productions. There was something hot about two Billys—a straight character, by the way—tussling in this twin dorm bed together.
Finally, he asked me, “Are you a top or bottom?” I had never heard the terms and began racking my brain, trying to remember the porn I’d watched to see if the answer was buried somewhere in my subconscious. I came up short, so it was time to pivot to my “critical thinking” skills. I determined he was probably asking if I wanted to lay on my back while he was on top of me, presumably riding my dick. So, I said “bottom”! Satisfied with my answer, he pulled out a condom, and then, to my surprise, started putting it on his dick. Me (and my bootyhole) quickly learned that we did not know what “top” or “bottom” meant. But looking back, I also don’t know how I would have. I was in the closet and barely knew anything about sex, let alone Queer sex.
(By the way, if you don’t know, being a top or bottom has nothing to do with a position you’re in, like “missionary” or “cowgirl,” but rather the position you will “play” during intercourse. “Top” refers to the person who’ll penetrate. “Bottom” refers to the person who’ll be penetrated. Cue that big NBC shooting star that blazes across your TV screen with the words “The More You Know” underneath.)
A year after sleeping with the musical theater major, I was now a sophomore and still in the closet. After a night of lots of drinks, I found myself alone in a dorm room with a friend of mine. He made the first move, and I couldn’t have been happier, because I was so attracted to him. This time I knew the difference between being a top and being a bottom, but still, with both of us not being out, we probably hadn’t considered that we might be having gay sex that evening, and we were still inexperienced. He attempted to enter me, but it wasn’t working. We determined we needed lube—obviously!—but we had none. He then had a bright idea. He went to the bathroom and filled his hand with… liquid soap from the dispenser. Not just any soap—that bubblegum-pink soap that can only be found in dormitories and airport bathrooms. The medical-grade soap that is not meant to do anything but burn that bacteria off your hands. I didn’t even think to object. (Honestly, I was eager.) I thought it was brilliant, and I was excited to get fucked. The soap worked. It got him inside me—and then I immediately pushed him out because my hole was… ON… FIRE.
How do two nineteen-year-olds not know that SOAP IS NOT LUBE?!?! Sexual immaturity.
I wish I could say sex got better after those experiences, but sex didn’t really become electric until my thirties. In fact, in my mid-thirties, I’ve had extraordinary, mind-blowing, otherworldly, ugly-cum-face, can’t-walk-straight, left-with-a-smile type sex. Don’t get me wrong. In the before times, I had good sex. Great sex, even. And of course, there’s something to be said about age and experience, but that doesn’t account for the residual guck I always had. The shame.
My Pink Soap friend and I actually ended up having a ton of sex (with actual lube), but because we were closeted, it was rarely in a romantic setting. Our encounters usually took place in a bathroom late at night where we knew no one would check, or in an empty school office after hours, or in one of our dorm rooms if our roommates were away. Shame. Shame. Shame.
Now add issues around race to that Queer shame. I recognize that my sexual trauma was also rooted in being raised in a society that values a certain definition of “attractiveness,” which for a man was white, lean or muscular, straight, and masculine—none of which I fit into growing up. And if the definition of attractiveness did happen to expand and include Blackness, it was Denzel Washington, who I did not look, sound, or act like. Even before I came out of the closet, going to boarding high school in the South, it was very clear that if a white girl was dating me, it was looked down upon. Dangerous, even. And I was the danger. When I finally came out my junior year of college, NYU was diverse but still a PWI (Predominantly White Institution). Most of the gay spaces I had access to were white, because most of my classmates who were out were white. In those gay white spaces, guys reinforced the idea that to be with a Black person was a fetish. One evening, a white gay friend I was hanging out with at a bar told me that while I was in the bathroom, a drunk white guy approached him and said my friend had “jungle fever.”
Now to that Queer shame and race shame, add body shame. I had gynecomastia growing up. It’s a medical term for “man boobs,” which are caused when the body produces too much estrogen, usually forming in puberty. When I was in eighth grade, we would have swim class on Monday afternoons. One day, after changing into my swim trunks and walking out to the pool, one of my male classmates looked at me with disgust, pointed to my chest, and exclaimed, “Ew! What are those?!” It was the last time I got into a pool until my thirtieth birthday.
I never verbalized that this encounter from when I was a preteen deeply impacted my adulthood. Shopping for clothes was a nightmare, because I wanted to prevent anyone from seeing my “man boobs,” which I’d learned, very publicly, were a great offense. I was deeply self-conscious in clothes, and it only got worse when I was naked. In every sexual interaction, I feared that the guy would point at my chest and yell out, “Ew! What are those?!” When I was in my mid-twenties, I had gynecomastia surgery to have the breast tissue removed, but I still didn’t feel comfortable shirtless until I turned thirty-two and had a transformative shift of feeling beautiful, which I’ll discuss a little later. Still, I had an inner voice nagging me, saying I was too skinny, that I didn’t have the perfect “man” body I was told to have by the media, my professional industry, my gay community, and others.
The final element we’ll throw into the pot of shame is gender identity. Though I wasn’t able to articulate that I’m nonbinary until after turning thirty-four, it was clearly present my whole life and something I wrestled with, especially being effeminate. Before being rejected for my race and sexuality, I was rejected for my femininity and not “acting like a boy.” Everyone had a problem with it. People I knew and people I didn’t know all took note of how fem I was and weren’t afraid to tell me how wrong it was.
Take the Queer, race, body, and gender shame, stir it up in a pot, and serve it up on a daily basis, then tell me: In what world did I have a shot at having a healthy relationship to sex? There are countless moments and instances that I never unpacked, never processed. Since I didn’t verbalize it, by default I ended up thinking I was indeed the problem. In fact, once I was out of the closet, if I wasn’t dating someone, I rarely slept with the same person more than once, and 95 percent of the time, sex happened under the influence. I always had to be drunk or stoned. It was the only way to quiet the anxiety, shame, and fear that plagued me so that I could actually enjoy sex. Substances quieted the self-doubt and negative talk.
But wait, there’s more.
In the fall of 2021, while on a Messy Mondays Instagram Live event with my friend comedian Rob Anderson, we were talking about topping and performance anxiety, which opened me up to talk about my own anxiety in my sexual experiences. I then revealed that I always felt like people were doing me a favor by sleeping with me. I had this unformulated, subconscious belief that no one actually wanted to be with me sexually because I wasn’t attractive. I shared how my husband, Matthew, and I had spoken about this a few weeks prior and I’d told him that, subconsciously, I believed he had sex with me because we’re married, not because he desired me.
Baby, when you hear me use the term “mental aerobics” or describe trauma as an “emotional web,” I do not speak lightly. It’s so complicated, the way that what we learn in our youth about our bodies, our skin, our gender expression, and our sexuality governs our adulthood because it’s so deeply ingrained in us.
But I did start to question my assumptions, and I was finally able to articulate how so much of my sex was about… you guessed it… acceptance, belonging, and validation. It was about being picked. Being chosen. Desired. Wanted. If someone slept with me, I felt worthy, even if I thought they were doing me a favor. The goal became just to have sex, chasing the high of worthiness and hustling for my worth. But sex should be about pleasure… connection… fun… joy, filled with communication and a space to safely explore your kinks, desires, wants, and needs without judgment or shame. There ain’t nothing inherently wrong with random hookups, but do that because it turns you on and you treasure the experience, not because you’re running away from your shame or anxiety.
Now that’s all well and good, and as fabulous as my little bedazzled soapbox is, how do you get from shame to pleasure? How do you get from trauma to healing? How do you begin questioning? Not just sex, but everything.
I’ll tell you, but I warn you, it got messy. Did that just make some of y’all tense up? Me too. As someone who still struggles not to be a perfectionist, I hate mess. I can’t function in mess, which is why I am a Marie Kondo stan. (If you don’t know who that is, she’s the queen of organization and you need to Google her immediately.) But in the heart, spirit, and soul, being messy is precisely what’s needed to begin healing our traumas.
When I thought about building Messy Mondays on Instagram, the intention was to create a safe space to talk about the parts of our sex lives and relationships that we might not feel inclined to talk about in polite company. Being messy with one another was fun and funny because of the subject matter we were tackling, but it was also liberating and healing because of the radical honesty that came along with it. Knowing there’s healing on the other side of messy made it less scary for me. Messy no longer made me want to crawl under the covers and hide, hoping that things would magically be in their place when I decided to reemerge.
In fact, because of how much healing Messy Mondays brought me and others, I was inspired to reclaim the word. I want it to be something we own boldly and continue to feel liberated by. I believe so deeply in the transformative power of being messy that I want it to be something we strive for, so I came up with a new definition. Because I’m a dork at heart, it’s an acronym. Bish, I’m about to give you this TED Talk, honey! You ready?!
Make space to reflect curiously. When you’re tackling a trauma or investigating a pattern of yours that you might want to shift or change, first make space to reflect. This could be in your journal, with a therapist, or on a hike. Up to you. As you reflect, do so curiously. Ask yourself the hard questions. Do you remember in writing class learning the “Five Ws”—who, what, where, when, and why? For example: “Who said or did that harmful thing to you?” “What was the thing?” “Where did it happen?” “When did it happen?” “Why did it happen?” The point is not to get definitive right-or-wrong answers—remember, sometimes there’s a ton of gray—but to begin engaging with the pain, shame, or trauma you’ve been avoiding. The point is to identify the stack of shame you didn’t even know needed to be identified, to begin caring for the wounds that are actively bleeding.
Easy on the judgment. As a kid, I was very rough with my toys, and I would also walk heavily around the house. Stomp, stomp, stomp. My mother would respond by saying, “Easy, easy, easy.” It didn’t mean I should stop playing or walking, it just meant I should be gentler. As you reflect curiously, you might come up against some cringey memories or some things that you regret. The natural instinct is to judge, sometimes harshly. But like our girl Adele sings, I beg you to go easy on the judgment. Can you be gentler with that judgment? Gentler with yourself in general?
Surrender the things you can’t change. Once you’ve gone through your curious reflection with as little judgment as possible, surrender the things you can’t change. Lay it down. The past is the past. Like Oprah said in that video I was telling you about, “Give up hope that the past could have been any different.” You or your loved ones probably made some mistakes, but you’ll only experience suffering if your focus is on changing those things, because the reality is, you can’t. I don’t know who needs to hear that, but you simply can’t. However, you can learn from what’s come before.
Save the lessons you can move forward with. Everything that has happened to us—good, bad, right, wrong, or gray—has a lesson attached to it. In the moment, the lesson isn’t always readily available, but with time, reflection, and surrender, those lessons begin to reveal themselves. Perhaps you can be better about communicating your boundaries, or maybe it’s learning how to acknowledge and listen to your instincts in a relationship or new environment. Personally, I arguably never should have dated certain guys, but those relationships taught me that I need to listen to myself immediately when a red flag is raised, as opposed to making excuses and settling. Whatever the lesson, save it in your mind, body, heart, and spirit. Allow those lessons to help you do and be better in the present moment.
Your healing and growth are your birthright. This is the most important one for me. Often our identity is trapped in our pain. Who are we if we release the shame, if we lay the trauma down? It’s impossible to know the answer until you’ve done so, but not knowing is terrifying—for some more terrifying than healing. It’s why so often many people stay stuck. So I want to remind you that you’re allowed to heal. And as you heal and gain more knowledge and new understanding, you’re going to grow. You get to be different than you were ten years ago. A year ago. A month ago. You get to evolve. Healing and growth are your birthright. Take advantage of it.
I’ve spent a lot of time working through each of my M.E.S.S.Y. steps, and I will continue to use them as we foray into different areas of identity and unpack stories, moments, and traumas that have informed my experiences but thankfully haven’t defined me—because healing and growth are my what?
I started us off with sex because it happens to be one of those places where the intersections of the various parts of identity can be pulled apart in all sorts of ways. I decided that in the same way I didn’t just want “good” sex, I didn’t just want a “good” life. I want an extraordinary, mind-blowing, otherworldly, ugly-cum-face, can’t-walk-straight, left-with-a-smile type of life. And in many ways, I have that. Don’t get it twisted: There are good days, bad days, and gray days. There are ups, downs, and all arounds. And my healing is a continual process. There are layers and levels to this shit, which, no lie, can be exhausting.
At base, choosing to be M.E.S.S.Y. led me to a path of happiness. It helped me stop waiting for others to accept me and led me to accept myself. I know now that I don’t need to belong to anyone, because I belong to me. And baby, that’s enough. But that didn’t happen overnight. That said, we gotta start somewhere, we gotta start sometime.
Trauma can train you to always scan for the weeds and thorns. In healing, may you begin to notice the blossoms in you and around you.
—DR. THEMA BRYANT
During my first year of writing on the show Big Mouth, a colleague of mine, Patti Harrison—a stunning and quirky Vietnamese American woman who’s also an unbelievable comedian—began chatting with me about heels. She always had some of the best shoes and outfits in general, so I was eager to discuss. I’ve occasionally worn heels onstage but had yet to wear them casually while running errands like buying groceries or picking up edibles. I mean, wearing heels takes work, and I’m very flat-footed, so being held in that tippy-toe arched position for longer than an hour is unbearable. Honestly, I could only wear them onstage because the adrenaline of performance would distract me from the podiatric pain. (Mostly.) But Patti told me about this shoe line called Syro that catered toward Queer folx by carrying heels in bigger sizes, often platforms. (For my guys, gals, and sibs who’ve yet to try on heels, platforms are far easier to walk in, because you have more support.)
When I looked at Syro’s website, I saw all these heels that literally left my mouth agape, and the models posing in these iconic gems were all male-presenting. There was something so captivating about the images, the blatant disregard for the binary of gendered fashion wrapping me in liberating tingles. I marveled at the courage it would take to be a man in heels, not for a stage show but in everyday life.
There was a particular pair of heels I fell in love with, made of a fabric reminiscent of the Burberry check print. I looked at the shoes for days, debating if I should purchase them. Previous purchases were always for a show, always for a character, not simply for daily life. After a week I said, “Fuck it,” and I went online to buy them. To my devastation, they were already sold out. I was crushed, not because they were sold out but because I’d waited. My debate over buying the heels wasn’t about money or practicality; I fretted about what others would think of me.
The labels placed on me from childhood still lingered.
Would strangers be as in awe of me as I was of those models, or would they think that I was looking for attention?
What’s important to note is that my friends and chosen family would have LOVED those heels. I would have walked into brunch and been met with cheers and applause. “Yaaas, Brandon!” “Okay, bitch, we see you!” “You better serve!” My tribe is incredible like that. So really, I allowed people I don’t even know to influence my decision.
A few months after I missed the opportunity to get those Burberry-inspired heels, I was in Toronto filming the movie Feel the Beat
- Author and narrator Brandon Goodman brings their thoughtful and joyful performance to an audiobook that explores what we might have become without the destructive messages given to us while growing up. . .With an actor’s ability to perform and the emotions lingering from lived experience, Goodman makes listeners laugh and cry in equal measure. They share important lessons, and their powerful performance makes this audiobook resonate long after it ends. —Audiofile
- “This book is moving, heartfelt, incisive, and bitingly funny. This isn’t just a beautiful read, it’s also an invitation to live better, messier, and more truthfully. I loved it!”—Amber Ruffin, host of The Amber Ruffin Show and New York Times bestselling author of You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey
- “You Gotta Be You is a love letter to anyone that reads it, but it’s also a call to action. It’s a book that challenges you to stop being who everyone wants you to be and start being who you are. Even if that person is messy - and after you read Brandon’s new definition of “messy”–you’ll realize there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a must read for anyone that marches to beat of their own drum, and let’s be honest… that’s all of us.”—Lena Waithe
“This book is a masterpiece of stories and one of the most entertaining and encouraging books I've ever read. By the end, you’ll feel great about you.”
—Karamo Brown, co-host of Queer Eye and author of Karamo
"Brandon's voice will empower you to the very core. After reading this refreshingly conversational and honest book, it’s impossible not to share his infectious lust for life and passion for both self-acceptance and self-love. Brandon reminds us we’re always on our path of becoming. Reading this will make you feel braver, brighter and bolder along your journey. I know I did!"
—Lily Collins, actress and author of Unfiltered
“There are very few individuals on this planet who are as talented as Brandon Kyle Goodman. He is truly one of the most creative, funny, beautiful people and I loved this book.”
"Had I had access to the testimonies and musings found on every page of You Gotta Be You when I was coming of age, I may have spent more days loving myself. Brandon Kyle Goodman's words are a reminder of the power of Black queer self-determination. You Gotta Be You is a mediation on Black queer life that is full of the sharp wit, singular humor and courageous candor that has come to define its author. Someone's life will be transformed because of Goodman's gift."—Darnell L. Moore, author of No Ashes in the Fire
“Brandon is such a beautiful example of the joy one can have when you truly embrace who you are, and that joy is contagious! The world is a brighter (& funnier) place because of their work and shows other folks that the most beautiful gift they can give to the world is to be themselves.”—Tess Holiday, author of The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl
- “Brandon is a force of nature: funny, honest, messy and real. You Gotta Be You showcases a level of introspection it takes most people a lifetime to achieve. There’s a lesson in these pages for everyone.”—Nick Kroll
- “A graceful, heartening story of Brandon's journey toward finding himself. I felt like he was holding my hand the whole way through. You Gotta Be You is a visceral cue to cherish those who nurture your soul, and a reminder to ‘borrow their eyes’ in an attempt to ‘see yourself the way they see you.’”—Colton Haynes, author of Miss Memory Lane
- “In You Gotta Be You Brandon Kyle Goodman beautifully chronicles the way they’ve whittled away at a hunk of metal to create a skeleton key for themselves—a key to unlock their most honest self, a key to free themselves from society’s oppressive expectations, a key to be themselves. Reading this book will inspire you to take a chisel to your own hunk of metal. It will dare you to see what you might unlock in yourself.”—Dylan Marron, author of Conversations with People Who Hate Me
- "bell hooks once wrote that our society has no places where we can go to learn how to love. Brandon Kyle Goodman's You Gotta Be You answers her call. This work is a laboratory of love: an essential companion for our journeys toward self-actualization. With practical lessons, trenchant political critique, generosity, wit, and panache, Goodman is a lighthouse for those struggling to find themselves (read: everyone). Their knack for holding multiple truths is honest and refreshing: this book is both self-help and collective responsibility, both mental health and macro politics, and all love."—Alok Vaid-Menon, author of Beyond the Gender Binary
- On Sale
- Sep 1, 2026
- Page Count
- 208 pages
- Legacy Lit